WATCH: "The Flag We Shouldn't Be Proud Of" On World Suicide Prevention Day

On World Suicide Prevention Day, Olly Alexander explains why the pride flag is missing two of its six colours.

Image of Olly Alexander holding Pride Flag with the red and blue stripes ripped out.
Image: Gay Times

Years & Years’ frontman Olly Alexander has unveiled a reworked version of the Pride flag with two of the stripes missing. The singer teamed up with Gay Times to reveal “The Flag We Shouldn’t Be Proud Of” to raise awareness for LGBT+ mental health issues on World Suicide Prevention Day. The red and blue stripes have been ripped from the flag in order to represent the two in six LGBT+ youth who are at risk of dying by suicide. These two stripes typically represent “Life” and “Harmony” on the Pride Flag.

In conversation with Gay Times Olly said: “There’s such a stigma around mental health that stops us from speaking out. In the workplace, education, or even at home, it can be difficult to express what you’re going through in the first place. Tackling that stigma is one part of it.”

Olly offered his advice to young LGBT+ people experiencing shame, bullying, dysphoria, anxiety and depression: “My advice is usually that you are not alone, and you don’t deserve to go through this by yourself. You deserve to have help and support if you need it.”

Meanwhile, Stephen Fry, Will Young, Stonewall CEO Ruth Hunt and London Mayor Sadiq Khan joined 130 signatories in an open letter urging journalists to stop saying “commit suicide” on World Suicide Prevention Day. 

The letter reads: “Please avoid sensationalist headlines, prominent or repeated photos of the deceased, particularly in cases of a young person’s death or a suicide cluster or stereotypical quotes from acquaintances or neighbours about the state of mind of the deceased leading up to their death.”

The letter urges journalists to consider the consequences of using the term “commit suicide” as this phrasing suggests that “suicide is either a crime or a sin”.

Today, September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day. Statistics continue to demonstrate that LGBT+ people are at a high risk of suicide. A 2016 study by LGBT Ireland found that 34% of LGBT+ people had self-harmed, while 60% of LGBT+ people had seriously thought of ending their lives.

BeLonG To offer a number of mental health services to LGBT+ people. Full details are available here.

If you need urgent support, you can contact any one of the support services below.

The National LGBT Helpline: Confidential listening and support services. Monday-Friday, 7am-9pm. Call: 1890 929 539.

Samaritans: Confidential, non-judgemental support, 24 hours a day. Call: 116 123.

Pieta House: Specialised treatments to clients who self-harm, suffer from suicidal thoughts, or have made suicide attempts. Call: 1800 247 247.

© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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